Best Practices: After Hours Client Communication

Oct 25
min Read
Legal Webinars

We’re going to talk about two things today:

1) Number one is share some data with you around after-hours client communication. So, we ran some analysis, here's what we learned, kind of a thing.

2) Second is we'll talk about best practices. We'll go through, I think, five best practices based on the law firms that we've spoken with, that will allow you,

I think, to get a good sense of what to do to fix this if it's a problem for you right now.

Who is Kenect?

So, let's dive right in. First of all, who is Kenect? We are based outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. We're a text messaging platform built for law firms throughout North America. Our job, our goal is to help you communicate more efficiently, generate new leads, conduct video consultations, and drive online reviews. The way we do this is we allow you to take your main business phone number and we make that textable. So, essentially, you can send and receive text messages from your main business phone number by logging into Kenect. It's that simple. So, you become a Kenect customer, you log into Kenect, you can send and receive text messages to, and from that main number. Which allows you, as I said, to communicate really efficiently, to generate new leads with a little text us button we put on your website, to conduct video consultations via text, which is really cool, and drive online reviews with text as well.

A little bit about us. We were recently listed as this 216th fastest growing company in America. The Inc. 5000 list, list 5,000 of the fastest growing companies in America. We were listed as 216, so we were in the top 5% of that list, which was a huge honor for us. We're integrated with the leading case management systems in the legal industry. You don't need to use one of these case management systems to use Kenect, but you can. We have over 4,000 customers now and 40,000 users on the platform. So, how do we do it? Two-way text messaging for your main law firm phone number so you can get the benefits of texting without giving out your personal cell number. Web leads straight from your website, video chat for virtual consultations, and then online review generation and reputation management as well.

Why texting? Why are we so worried about it, focused on it? Well, it's because your clients prefer it. 89% of consumers would prefer a text with a business, rather than call a business. 98% of text messages are open. 96% of clients find phone calls to be disruptive. Bottom line is if you are having any difficulty at all with phone tag, if you're having a hard time getting ahold of clients, they're having a hard time getting ahold of you and you don't like your attorneys, they don't like giving out their personal cells and you don't like them too. Fix all that with Kenect. Fix all of that. All your text messages go into your case management system. You see record of them, you have access to them. So, it's not just a black box of communication between the attorney and the client. It's a really slick and effective methodology to communicate with your clients. That's why we have so many customers and we're adding more every day.

Top 8 Ways Law Firms Use Kenect

Top eight ways law firms use Kenect:

  1. Schedule consultations
  2. Send appointment reminders
  3. Streamline intake, and validate cases, send case updates and communicate fast
  4. Collect fees and send invoices
  5. Video chat with clients
  6. Send and receive videos, photos, PDFs, and attachments
  7. Generate online reviews
  8. Capture more leads.

How does Kenect work?

The way you do this is you log into the Kenect texting inbox, and you can send and receive text messages to and from people just by logging in. It looks and functions a lot like an email inbox, but it's for texting. So, you can easily send and receive text messages and get the benefits of doing that.

All right, you also, with the Kenect mobile app can send and receive text messages as well. You just log into the Kenect mobile app, you can assign leads to specific attorneys or paralegals. You can get alerted when they follow up or don't follow up with a lead. You can also do quick replies, so, schedule replies to go out. You can request reviews. You can send photos, videos, PDFs, DocuSigns. You can also take new images and collect new images from people. You can request payment, you can schedule messages, you can invite video chat.

How to use Kenect video chat, click on the video icon in your Kenect inbox to send a video link to your client. Both you and the client will click on the same link, you can start video chatting. It's really that simple. So, it's a great way to streamline intake as well. No additional software required to do that specifically. Okay. Top eight ways firms use Kenect. I think we hit this already, I'll hit it again. Scheduling consultations and sending appointment reminders, streamlining intake, sending case updates, collecting fees, video chatting with clients, sending and receiving photos, videos, PDFs, DocuSigns, generating online reviews and capturing more leads.

The Data

Okay. I want to go through this data here that we gathered. And we gathered this about three months ago, we need to get an updated data set, but it's really interesting. What we found is that 43% of the leads that law firms get, they get after hours. 43%, and that's why what we're talking about today is so important. So, what are your response rates? When you get a lead, this is not necessarily after hours, this is all time, what is your response rate? And it's getting better. In 2021, the average response rate is 58%. Meaning, when you get a lead that, that lead is responded to by someone on your team 58% of the time.

43% of the leads that law firms get, they get after hours.

Now, how does that compare to other industries? One of the other industries that we sell into are dealerships. And they get back to their customers, their response rate is between 78 and 82%. So, if I would've left their data on this chart, what you would've seen is the chart way up here, way where my red dot is. So, dealerships and other businesses respond at a rate that is higher consistently than law firms. Now, I think there's a few reasons why. At a dealership, every single person that walks in the door or that comes via text could be worth a $50,000 automobile. And you're probably used to getting people asking questions and not wanting to pay you very much and all that kind of stuff, but we can do better.

Now, fortunately, it is improving and we need to pull the data for Q2 and Q3 for future presentations. But bottom line is it's improving, but compared to other industries, it is just not as good. And I'd be curious, by the way, in the question area, type in why you think that might be the case. Why do you think the overall response rate for leads is lower in legal? I don't believe it's because you guys aren't as sophisticated or don't grasp the value of these leads, but why is it so much lower? I mean, you're talking dealerships at 85% and other businesses in the 70s. Why are law firms lower? I'd be interested in your responses, so type those in.

What is the average response time? So, the overall average to respond to a lead in law firms is 1.6 hours. So, about an hour and 35 minutes. So, an hour and 35 minutes is the average time for a lead to be responded to. Now, the thing I will say about that is, compared to other industries, it's a little bit worse. It's not terrible. Most businesses have a really hard time quickly responding to leads. That's important. There is also a massive variability in after hours response times, which is my why we wanted to have the webinar today. So, during business hours, law firms actually do fairly well. After hours, not well at all.

So, basically, what this is showing is if someone is a lead after hours, if someone messages you at 6:15, the average law firm is not going to respond to them until the next morning. That's not good. We've got to do better than that. Now, other industries do a lot better than that. So, dealerships, I keep going back to that example, because we have a ton of data on it, they generally wait about an hour and a half after hours to respond to leads. And during business hours, it's a lot less. So, what should the numbers look like? So, let's talk through that for a second. So, during business hours or overall, I should say, data indicates that you should respond to leads within about five minutes before they move on to somebody else. Because the risk here is that they don't respond to you or that you don't respond to them, rather, and then they go to another law firm and that firm responds immediately.

So, by the time you've responded the next morning, they've already got an agreement signed with somebody else. They've had an intake call. So, we heard from a law firm this last week that said they are very focused on lead response. And we've said, "Well, why are you so focused on lead response?" And he said, "Well, because what we found is that when we were waiting hours and hours to respond to leads, we would oftentimes text those leads back and they would have already signed an agreement with another firm." So, lead response is critically important here. I can't stress it enough.

In today's day and age with the Google and Amazon attitude, where we want immediate gratification when we're searching for something, they want to get that problem taken care of then. Do not wait. There is no need to wait this long, and we'll talk about how to fix it. So, what is our summary? About 22% of legal leads have an over 24 hour response time. The average lead waits over an hour to be responded to, after hours, leads wait about 8.6 hours. And the overall response rate is 58%, which is improving. So, take a screenshot of this, whatever. I can send out the deck, but this is really, really important.

Let me just review these again. 22% of legal leads have an over 24 hour response time. So, the overall response rate is 58%, which means 42% are not getting responded to. And then of that 58%, 22% of those, you wait over 24 hours to respond to. And then after hours, wait 8.6 hours to respond to. So, let's talk about how we fix this. And I'd love your thoughts again. Go to the questionnaire if you have thoughts, questions, whatever. So, best practices for handling after-hours leads. I want to talk through each one of these for about five minutes each. First of all is assign someone to handle them. Who is in charge of handling after-hours leads at your firm? Do you rotate between attorneys? Do you rotate between staff members and legal assistants? Do you have an intake team who does it? Do you have a third party lead response team? Who does this? Whoever it is, make sure they're in charge of doing it.

What we see is probably at 80% of the firms that we work with, they just have nobody in charge of this. So, something will come in after hours and no one's really in charge of responding, and so it just fall through the cracks, maybe is the best way to say it. It falls through the cracks. So, you've got to make sure you have someone assigned and responsible to handle these.

Second is change the mentality around leads. So, this is something that I think we could learn a lot from dealerships and then also technology companies. So, let me tell you what happens when we get a new lead. Our team calls them within two minutes and if they don't call them, they get assigned to somebody else and they don't get paid on that lead. Do something to develop urgency. So, dealerships, for example, they have a round-robin system. "So, okay, here's a lead. This is Jim's lead. Okay, this is John's lead. Okay, this is Carrie's lead. This is Michelle's lead. And if you miss that lead, you don't get another one until it comes back around to you, which might be weeks, days, who knows?" So, there's an urgency. So, I would just change the mentality around leads. You've got to develop an urgency to respond quickly, really quickly.

Texting vs Calling

Texting versus calling. Now, this is the one I want to spend a minute or two on here. So, let me say this, the mentality around leads after hours has always been, "Oh, my gosh, I don't want to take calls after hours." And I 1,000% get that, because calls are annoying. You're at dinner with some friends and your spouse, the last thing you want to do is step outside and be like, "Oh, we got to lead. I'd better go call them back." Or if you're the on-call person in charge of responding to leads, the last thing you want to do is answer a phone when you're at a kid's soccer game in the evening, or whatever it is. You simply don't want to be that person, calling and stepping outside of a family or after-hours function in order to make or take a phone call. That's the beauty of texting.

So, if you allow your clients to text you, put a text us button on your website, which we can help you do. If you allow your clients to do that, what you're going to find is you get inbound texts, not inbound phone calls, and it's very easy to respond to an inbound text after hours. You could be sitting at dinner, you could be at that soccer game, you could be out at a bar with friends. And if you can send a text reply using Kenect, you're going to see success. It's not hard to do, it's easy to do. The person's not expecting to have a 30 minute phone call. All they want is acknowledgement that you have seen their message and that you're going to reply back.

So, downloading the Kenect app, if you're a customer, you can easily respond to text messages. You can see when new leads are coming in, when they've been assigned to you. You can automatically reply to those. You can schedule future appointments with those. So, it's a really clear and slick way to handle leads after hours. You can send photos, you could request payment, you could schedule a message, whatever you want, you can do. Texting is going to make that much easier than calling, much easier than calling, because you don't have to interrupt what you're doing. You can immediately text back regardless of what you're doing, where you're doing it. Because they're texting you, you can text them back.

Set a standard for lead response time. This goes for during hours and after hours. I would make sure that everyone in your firm knows what your standard is for lead response time. Set a number. So, is it five minutes? Which is what I would suggest, by the way. Is it an hour? Is it two hours? What happens if a lead comes in at 10:05 at night? What's your standard response time? I would set a standard for this. And I literally mean write it down. This doesn't need to be some 12 page manual, this can be something that is easy and simple and clear with three bullet points. During office hours, every lead will be responded to within four minutes. After office hours, every lead will be responded to in 35 minutes. Whatever that is, just literally, you'd probably need two bullet points.

So, set a standard for lead response time and make sure people know it. You have to, as a leader at your firm, show how important these are, because if you don't believe they're important, your team that is responding to them will not believe they are important either. Train your team on the why. So, this might be the most important component of this. You've got to make sure your team understands why these leads matter. So, if you're only getting five or six of these a month, I would literally keep track of what happens to these leads. Did they go somewhere else? Did they become a client? What does that revenue mean for you? Do they have a retainer now? Is it a one time deal? I would track this for a few months and try to get some data around why these leads matter so, so much, because it's revenue walking out your door.

Again, the data shows if you're not responding to leads within five minutes-ish, they're just going to go to somebody else. So, I can tell you from personal experience, the one time I needed an attorney, I mean, I had no clue which attorneys were best and weren't the best. So, I just messaged three or four law firms and the first one who messaged me back, got my business. It's that simple. I don't want to have to spend more time on this than I already think I shouldn't be. So, I want to get this over as quickly as I can, make it as painless as possible. And so, I just wanted somebody who I thought was competent, who was responsive.

Now, the other piece of this, that kind of is the overarching point I'm trying to make. So, do you know the number one reason law firms get a negative review you? So, when someone leaves you a negative review on Google, do you know what the number one, most common reason for that negative review is? It's a lack of responsiveness and lack of communication. That's the number one reason law firms get negative reviews. So, if you're not responding to leads rapidly, you're doing the thing that will get you negative reviews. Even if they become a client, you're doing the thing that will get you to become a negative review.

Let's Review

So, let's review this a little bit. Let's review the summary of the data and let us review these bullet points. First of all, 22% of legal leads are not responded to for over 24 hours. The average lead waits to be responded to for over an hour. After-hours leads wait 8.6 hours, and the overall sponsor rate is 58%, which is improving. Assign someone to handle these leads, during hours and after hours. Change the mentality around leads. And I know you didn't go into the legal business to become a salesperson, I get it, but you've also got to have a little bit of the urgency that a sales team would have in viewing these leads as really valuable. Change the mentality around these leads, develop urgency around these leads.

Texting versus calling. I understand how it would be frustrating to call leads after hours and to answer calls after hours, but the beauty of Kenect is you no longer have to do that. Put a little text us button on your website, which we help you do during the setup call, suddenly, 80% of your leads will be texts, and you can respond to those anytime, anywhere, easily. Set a standard for lead response time. Make sure people inside your business know what you expect of how quickly you can have a lead response. I would literally write this down and make sure everybody knows what it is. During office hours, we respond to leads in five minutes. After office hours, we respond to leads in 30 minutes, whatever that number is.

And then train them on the why. They have to see that these are real people looking for a real attorney. That's what matters. And if they don't go to you, they will go to someone else. They will go to someone else. You only need an attorney when you need an attorney. No one's price shopping for the fun of it. So, you have to make sure you're capturing that business when they come to you.

If you're interested in learning more, just text us or call us at this number, (888) 972-7422. We'd love to work with you. Or click here to schedule a demo.

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